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Written by Ian Wallwork

James DeGale's reasons for wanting to leave Frank Warren could be personal


   
Before a contract is drawn up both parties make promises to each other, and their signature is an agreement to keep those promises. It has become clear that either Frank Warren hasn't kept his to James DeGale, another promotional company has been stirring the pot or the Olympian is letting personal issues affect his career.

Last week the story surfaced that James DeGale is looking to leave Frank Warren Promotions. There are a couple of possible reasons, which I'll go into later, but first let's hear what DeGale had to say:
"I think it is time for us both to move on"
That's it, and Frank Warren was equally succinct. Following what was probably a couple of hours of panic, Warren Promotions issued their own statement. They said:
"James DeGale is in fact under contract until April 14, 2013"
Promoter and fighter are airing their dirty washing in front of the boxing fans, journalists, websites and blogs and it isn't pretty. Despite how short both side's statements were, we can get to an even lower common denominator: "I want to leave" and "Tough, you can't".

But why would DeGale want to leave? He only signed for Frank in December 2008 and since then he's built up a 11-1 record, won a European title and registered himself on the WBO's super middleweight contenders list. There doesn't seem much to complain about there.

Could it be he doesn't like the way Warren Promotions is going with their titles fights? I hate to be the guy who hits dead horses but Cleverley - Karpency is a poor career move for a champion and an awful fight. Awful, awful, awful. I'm sure you know this blog's position by now. Maybe DeGale sees Warren making these kind of fights, then looks over at what Eddie Hearn is doing with Carl Froch. On the face of it, does Matchroom Boxing have more ambition that Frank Warren Promotions?

Have a look at Frank Warren Promotion's top fighters and see who they last fought. Now compare them to Matchroom's top guys and their last matches. What do you think? If you couldn't be bothered to do it, I've saved you the trouble:

Frank Warren Promotions:
Ricky Burns
- Michael Katsidis (interim WBO world title)
John Murray - Brandon Rios (vacant WBA world)
Kevin Mitchell - John Murray (WBO Inter Contnental)
James DeGale - Piotr Wilczewski (EBU and WBO Inter Continental)
Nathan Cleverly - Tony Bellew (defending WBO world)
Dereck Chisora - Robert Helenius (WBA/WBO Inter Continental and EBU)

Matchroom Boxing:
Carl Froch
- Andre Ward (Super Six Final and WBC/WBA World)
Kell Brook - Luis Galarza (no title, but Brooks introduction to America)
Darren Barker - Sergio Martinez (WBC Diamond)
Paul McCloskey - Breidis Prescott (WBA world eliminator)
Gavin Rees - Derry Mtthews (EBU)
Lee Purdy - Colin Lynes (BBBofC British)

Interesting reading, actually. I'm not a fan of Frank Warren Promotions but their experiences shines through here - two of their fighters fought for world belts in 2011 and all of them had tough fights. That's not a sign of a promotional company in decline, as some have put it.

Then again, Matchroom also scored two world title fights, and theirs came against two of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Sergio Martinez and Andre Ward. Beside fixing a fight with Donaire, Mayweather or Pacquiao you can't get any better than that.

I don't think promotional company ambition is the reason for DeGale leaving. The real reason could be personal; maybe Warren and he just aren't a fit anymore. Or maybe it's because of the new kid.

Last year Frank Warren had the boxing scene talking when he signed up talented super middleweight George Groves from under the nose of Matchroom Boxing. It shocked us fans at the time, so how bad do you think DeGale felt? 

Groves and DeGale have a rivalry that has been burning for years, and DeGale's only defeat comes at the hands of the George. You lose a fight to your closest rival, and your promoter goes out and signs him up? That must hurt. It's like your wife being friends with the guy who got a promotion ahead of you at work.

That's my take on why DeGale's looking to split. It might seem petty, it might look like it is below a professional athlete, but boxers aren't perfect. What's more, Warren is well within his rights to enforce DeGale's contract length, but unless he can do something drastic to fix things I see James DeGale joining Froch, Barker and co over at Matchroom next year.